Designing Flourishing Enterprises

September 21st, 2022

If you are interested in sustainable business models you must know about the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group (SSBMG) that has been the hub for innovations in that space for several years and that recently evolved into the Flourishing Business Institute. You may also know about the special LinkedIn group C4FE (Community for Flourishing Enterprise) with over 2500 members, an active hub for community exchanges. But do you know about the First Explorers’ Flourishing Startups group? If not you should attend the upcoming webinar providing an overview of the Flourishing Startups Method and the lessons learned from applying it with over 1500 entrepreneurs globally.

Details of the two webinars offered by the lead of Flourishing Startups, Ondine Hogeboom here.

There are two identical 90 min sessions being offered: 

  1. Tuesday September 27th, 2022  9.30am EST / 15h30 CET – to register please click here.
  2. Tuesday October 25th, 2022  9.30am EST / 15h30 CET – to register please click here.

This webinar is a great place to get an introduction to the Flourishing Startups Method. 

Future of Mobility 2023-2024

October 15th, 2022

The future of mobility was centre point at the International Mobility Summit 2022 (TIMS20222) that has just concluded. It brought together in Copenhagen the global mobility, transport, and smart city ecosystems. The event attracted about 500-600 participants from as far as Canada and Japan.

The TIMS22 event’s purpose was to connect the public and private sectors within the global mobility and smart city ecosystem to help shape future mobility, liveable cities and sustainable transport.

TIMS will be in Copenhagen in 2023 and might come to Toronto in 2024.

TIMS 2022

The event provided a good overview of the next generation of mobility challenges and opportunities, explored cutting-edge Nordic technology and sustainable solutions helping to make cities and municipalities greener and more sustainable. It also provided access to experience leading-edge solutions in the real world through guided bicycle tours through Copenhagen (bicycle capital of the world), or the DOLL Living Labs where future technologies are piloted and tested on the ground.

One of the red threads throughout the Summit this year was the strong realization for the need to switch from competitive to collaborative paradigms, if we are to address current big complex challenges. That thread was present across sectors and geographies, a welcome hopeful sign.

A Future Mobility Player

This post is not the appropriate place to discuss details about the contents presented in the Summit and insights gained. However, we noted the presence of surprising electric cars made by X-Peng, a Chinese private corporation. Several models were on display and available for test drives. A short drive in one showed good handling, beautiful interior, and a body design described as part Tesla and part Audi. The turning radius was less stellar.

X-PENG P7 Wings -present future of mobility (Source:

A Company To Watch

That same week X-Peng also tested its flying taxi in Dubai. This company seems to be on the move globally: it is already present in Nordic and few European countries, and in a couple of U.S. cities.

Future Mobility: A XPeng X2, an electric flying taxi developed by the Guangzhou-based XPeng, Inc’s aviation affiliate, is tested in front of the Marina District in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Monday’s demonstration was held with an empty cockpit, but the company says it carried out a manned flight test last year of the two-passenger vehicle. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Flattening the economic & social curve

March 20th, 2020

By now everyone hopefully is aware of the COVID-19 virus and most of us are learning how to really work from home, not for a day or two, but possibly for several weeks. We are all bombarded with various advice and resources for remote working, remote teaching, remote meetings etc. We are becoming finally proficient at using the various remote connection tools: Zoom, Microsoft TEAMS, Go-to-Meeting, WhatsApp, Skype, Messenger, Twitter, and even dreaded FB … We’re also beginning to realize that the internet connection and available bandwidth is a real part of “infrastructure” and as important as power, water, and even perhaps the roads, and bridges that we are currently not using.

For the first time we are becoming aware that scarcity in such a crisis goes beyond toilet paper and canned foods to include this precious resource called bandwidth. In a recent TEAMS call with 30-40 participants, when I suggested to switch off our videos to preserve bandwidth, everyone immediately understood and acted.

We seem to be learning to accept the realities of working from home: a kid barging on your meeting, a partner handing you a cup of coffee, and sometimes a colleague having a “bad hair day”. We’re much more accepting of these domestic events because for the first time, we are all in the same situation.

So, what is there to do beyond remote meetings and binging on TV or Netflix? There is no doubt that this crisis will be severely disrupting to our economy. Government help might be coming but we need to do our part. First and foremost by taking care of our family, neighbors, and communities. Second, we need to think sharply about coming up with constructive alternatives to many in-person functions that are now disrupted. Some parents trying to homeschool young children are despairing. Can their school teacher organize alternative virtual classes to assist? Design companies are standing idle and considering layoffs. Could there be a serious training opportunity on new and complex design software? Could they support increasing the production of materials needed by healthcare providers on the frontlines of fighting the virus?

The social distancing, self-isolation and shelter-in-place measures will hopefully flatten the dispersion curve of the virus. If we put our minds to finding virtual alternatives that are useful and productive, we may perhaps flatten the curve of the economic and social shock that will follow the pandemic.

First Circular Economy Symposium at Harvard

March 17th, 2020

On March 6, 2020 the inaugural Circular Economy Symposium was held at Harvard University. An initiative of a team of graduate and undergraduate students from several Harvard schools and supported by two faculty advisors (Nabil Harfoush from the School of Engineering and Carrie Snyder of the Extension School), the events attracted participants from 40 countries. The event was sold out for in-person attendance at the Tsai Auditorium in the Center for Government & International Studies. Close to 400 virtual participants watched the event live stream on the internet.

Details of the Symposium’s agenda, speakers, resources etc. can be found here. It was preceded by a broad range of activities, under the title Symposium+ across Harvard’s campus to increase awareness about circular economy, ranging from the board game In The Loop (played at multiple schools), guest lectures, and movie screening, to panels and round tables.

The symposium proceedings were video recorded and the recordings will be made available soon on the Symposium’s site.

Celebrating 5 years of SSE-O

August 4th, 2017

The School for Social Entrepreneurs – Ontario (SSE-O) recently celebrated 5 years of activity by organizing a retreat to reflect about achievements and challenges of the past five years and think about what’s next the next five years. As usual, SSE-O assembled a highly diverse and inspiring group of people and with support from the BMW Foundation was able to hold the retreat on Wasan Island in Muskoka’s Lake Joseph. Two years ago a similar retreat also organized by SSE-O on Wasan Island resulted in founding the League of Intrapreneurs Canada.


SSE-O Retreat Wasan 2017

Wasan is a wonderful place where nature’s beauty and superb place-making, reflected as much in the design of the common spaces as in the quality and talents of the Island’s staff, creates ideal conditions to detach from daily tasks and engage in deep reflection and meaningful conversations. During the retreat SSE-O also tested new tools including a practice of Unlearning and the CPS method to explore if these could be used more broadly in the future. But the most valuable outcomes (aside from the action plan) were in the new friendships made and the inspiration gained.

Happy 5th Anniversary SSE-O. We are looking forward to your next achievements.

Studio Summit #2

July 6th, 2017

In August 2014 Studio Summit 1, an invitation-only gathering, was held at the Studio of the Copenhagen Business School. Its participants focused on exploring the studio educational methods, defining their essential components, and discussing studio pedagogy for business, engineering and science education.

Building on that successful event the Resilience Design Lab at OCAD University in collaboration with Autodesk is organizing Studio Summit 2 with the theme “Moving Studios into the Digital Age”. A strong Program Committee, whose member details can be found here, is guiding the Summit’s program.

Summit Studio 2 will not involve the traditional 20-minute monologues of other conferences. It is structured rather around a series of interactive sessions, a few panels, and technology demonstrations in a studio environment. The Summit is hosted at the brand new Autodesk Maker Space in the MaRS Discovery District.

To be considered for an invitation you must submit a half-page here describing what value you will add to the topic of the summit. Upon acceptance you will be given the password to register and pay the event’s fee of CA$ 395.00.




The Clean50 Awards

July 6th, 2017

Canada’s Clean50 Awards offer annually recognition to Canada’s leaders in sustainability for their contributions over the prior two years. Nominations are collected year round until Canada Day each year, reviewed, and then honourees for three different types of awards are announced each September: Clean50 Individuals, Clean50 Emerging Leaders, and Clean50 Top 15 Projects.

The Clean50 Individual awards – or just the Clean50 are selected from 16 diverse categories that transcend numerous industries, academia, different levels of government, thought leaders, and advocates, and are based on accomplishments delivered over the prior two years.   The leader in each of the 16 categories is also declared to be part of the Clean16, depicting those 16 Honourees as the top contributor in their respective categories.

It gives us great pleasure and pride that our own Nabil Harfoush has been nominated to the Clean50 of 2017 and is now on a shortlist of 72 names out of over 500 nominated.

Graduation of Social Intrapreneur Fellows

March 11th, 2017

The School for Social Entrepreneurs Ontario (SSE-O) in collaboration with the League of Intrapreneurs Canada (of which we are proudly a co-founder) co-designed the Social  Intrapreneurs Fellowship to provide social intrapreneurs with the tools, network, and confidence to make social change at their workplaces in government, non-profits, and companies. 

Last month, the 2016-2017 cohort of Social Intrapreneur Fellows completed their fellowships. To celebrate this great accomplishment as these fellows embark on a new adventure SSE-O is organizing “Fellow-bration”, a celebration of the graduates 6-9 pm on Tuesday March 28th at the Centre for Social Innovation Annex.

You can register here.

The gathering will be an opportunity to learn more about the League of Intrapreneurs Canada’s ambitious plans for the future, and find out how you can get involved.

Open Government Partnership Workshop

February 27th, 2017

The government of Ontario is inviting stakeholders in the Open Government movement from the public and civil society to the Implementation Phase of the Open Government Partnership Commitments. These are:

  • Strengthen Ontario’s commitment to making government data open by default by adopting the International Open Data Charter.
  • Increase opportunities for young people across Ontario to share ideas for government programs and services by developing a digital engagement tool
  • Create an open government training program for staff across the Ontario Public Service to help government continue to find new ways to boost openness and transparency

The purpose of the event, which is in a workshop format, is to engage in dialogue on Ontario’s Open Government Partnership commitments and to contribute to a pan-Canadian conversation on Open Dialogue and Open Data.

The workshop will also be a space to set the stage for the co-creation of our deliverables.

The first workshop took place on February 21, 2017 from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm in the Ontario Trade & Investment Centre at 250 Yonge Street. It was attended by about 30 participants from civil society, business, academia, and government.


League of Canadian Intrapreneurs – An Update

February 20th, 2017

In September of 2015 we reported on our participation in founding the League of Intrapreneurs Canada (LOI). It’s time to report on the progress since then. One of the observations was that intrapreneurs were feeling isolated and frustrated. As a first measure to address this issue founding members of the LOI (such as the School of Social Entrepreneurs-Ontario and OCAD’s Resilience Design Lab) hosted gatherings of intrapreneurs. The purpose was to strengthen network links and show intrapreneurs that they were not alone and that many are facing similar challenges.

The next step was to start thinking about supporting intrapreneurs, particularly in the public sector, by providing adequate training and tools. While the School of Entrepreneurs (SSE-O)  is focusing on the training aspect, we are collaborating with the Resilience Design Lab (R-Lab) on developing and testing tools, including processes for visualizing complex data for decision support, and methods for influencing organizational behaviour. We’ll be reporting in future blogs on some of those tools and methods.